Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening declared that the country would go into a 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“There will be a complete lockdown across the country from 12 o'clock tonight,” Modi said.
Over 500 people have been infected by COVID-19 and nine people have died so far.
The prime minister said if India doesn’t manage the upcoming 21 days, then the “country will be pushed backwards by 21 years.”
In the current lockdown, a decision was to be taken by respective state governments depending upon the conditions prevailing in the state. The lockdown announced by Modi on Tuesday is a complete lockdown imposed across the country by the Union home ministry.
Flights were operational and the borders were not sealed during the previous lockdown. From 24 March, flight services will not be operational and state borders will be completely sealed.
According to a home ministry order, persons who fail to remain under strict isolation and quarantine as advised by the local authorities and have also arrived in India after 15 March will be charged under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. There were no such provisions in the earlier lockdown.
Provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 will be invoked against any person violating the containment measures. Further, legal action will be taken under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (as per Appendix).
The central government has now assured the supply of essential commodities and medicines and will work in coordination with various state governments to ensure the same. In the previous lockdown, there was only the mention of them being functional. It is only now that the supply has been assured.
Now, there will be a 24X7 hotline made available by the home ministry to assist the states enforce the lockdown. There weren’t any hotlines earlier.
All places of worship will be closed for public and no religious congregations will be allowed.
In the case of funerals, only a maximum of 20 people will be allowed to attend.
Updated Date: Mar 24, 2020 23:52:32 IST